How commercial real estate connects communities COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT

Is this hot topic helping or hurting the industry? RENT CONTROL

Chief Empowerment Officer



$5.95U.S. ::$6.95CAN NOV/DEC2019

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THINK REALTY 8  News & Events

54  Invest in Connection Commercial real estate developments are changing communities. by Pam Goodwin 56  Rent Control Is this political hot topic hurting or helping the industry? by Mark Scott, NARPM ® 59  Customer Relations Why your real estate investment company doesn’t need another CRM. by Robert Syfert, Investor PO 62  The Truth About “Community Development” and Your Real Estate Deals Engaging with the local community can lead to bigger projects, higher returns. by Carole VanSickle Ellis 65  Sponsored Content: Information Management Network 83  Strike Gold with Proven Opportunities, Not Flashy Substitutes by Jared Garfield, ROI Turnkey Properties DESIGN POINT 88  Design Guide: Spa Bathroom Featured designer: Tamara Day MARKET & TRENDS 90 Metro Report: Houston On recovery road, diversifying economy fuels demand. by Yardi Matrix 92 Local Market Monitor: Good Deals It’s always been all about location, and it still is. by Ingo Winzer 94 Rental Property Ownership 97 Evaluating the Numbers Conservative calculations in your real estate investments can bring rewarding returns. by Aaron Chapman, Security National Mortgage MINDSET 98 Top of Mind Can the end of single-family zoning solve America’s housing problems? by Jeff Pepperney, Real Property Management

Updates from around the industry.

10  Investing in the Big Stuff Big goals and big returns

are only part of the equation. by Tom Olson INVESTOR STORIES 20  Presidents' Circle

Featured Investors: Max Keller and Glenn Stromberg 22  Transformational Wealth Prosperity develops when veterans buy America and invest in real estate. by Jeff Edwards BUSINESS FUNDAMENTALS 25  Fund that Flip Appealing to today’s largest rental markets is key for rental property owners. by Lukas Krause, Real Property Management 26  Understanding the 3 M’s of Mobile Homes The terms mobile, manufactured, and modular aren’t as interchangeable as you might think. by Chimene Van Gundy, Mobile Home Millions 28  Real Estate and a Recession 32  Lead Generation for Buyers Five inexpensive sources to find your next purchase. by Bruce Kellogg 34  Education for Realtors Television star and real estate mogul Ryan Serhant offers his million-dollar tips of the trade. by Ryan Serhant Why treating “reality” real estate television as education puts the entire industry at risk. by Charles Sells, PIP Group 47  Become the Bank TM How to journey on the road to wealth. by Ray Urrutia, Pull the Trigger Enterprises 50  Single-Family Rentals: What You Should Know Being a good landlord is key to cashflow. by W.J. Mencarow Buy more houses, especially if you can get a good deal. by Kristine Gentry, Ph.D., U.S. Probate Leads STRATEGY 42 The Reality Risk



BETH O'BRIEN and her unconventional path surges growth at CoreVest.


by Bobby Burch :: photos by Emily Frances













Though the market may fluctuate, some things never change ― Americans love real estate.

Television host and rehabber Tamara Day turns suburban blah into a beautiful family home.

Elements of a prosperous single-family rental property investment.

Leading with the mission to improve communities will lead to cashflow, and more.

Making others’ expectations work for you is all in the mind. by Aaron Chapman

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PUBLISHER & CEO Eddie Wilson



Connecting Through Real Estate

SALES MANAGER Rodney Halford 816-398-4111 x86122




fostering deeper relationships and sharing invaluable information in the Presidents’ Circle meeting and others making new connec- tions in the expo hall. The Think Realty team is hard at work plan- ning 2020 events where even more connections can be made, and where more education can be shared. In this month’s cover story, CEO of Cor- eVest Beth O’Brien connects with her team through her mantra of empowerment. When people feel empowered to make de- cisions, they become conduits for positive change and the effects at CoreVest have been, well, powerful! Read more about Beth and the company’s story on page 12. Also in this issue, read how one inves- tor hopes to flip his hometown and how commercial developments are enhancing communities around the country. One thing I enjoy about my job(s) is seeing people connect and lift each other up. Think Realty is all about connecting investors, improving real estate investing education, and providing a voice for investors wanting to effect positive change in their communi- ties — and beyond. •

ike many of you, I have more than one job. Shh- hhh… don’t tell Eddie! Not only am I a wife, a mother, and a magazine editor, but I am also a certified yoga instructor. The word “yoga” means union, or connection. And when I teach, I see

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Bobby Burch Aaron Chapman Jeff Edwards Carole VanSickle Ellis Abhi Golhar

Pam Goodwin Bruce Kellogg Yardi Matrix W.J. Mencarow Tom Olson Ingo Winzer Michael Zuber

community in action — individuals work- ing to improve themselves while support- ing others at the same time. While we are all traveling separate journeys, often, we see more positive results when we connect with others, and when we help each other. The theme of this issue is Community Development, and while on the surface “community” means a group of people living in the same place, the term “com- munity” is also defined as “a feeling of fel- lowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.” Community IS connection, and in my time as editor of Think Realty Magazine , I’ve experienced connection in the real estate investing community. I was happy to connect with many of you at Think Realty’s Atlanta Conference, where I witnessed firsthand a community of investors



Like, Follow & Share for the Latest Real Estate News, Trends and Insights from Think Realty

SUBSCRIPTIONS :: The annual subscription for Think Realty Magazine is $36.00 in the U.S. Order online at or call 816-398-4085. Provide your full name, address and telephone number. DISCLAIMER :: Think Realty Magazine , its owners, contractors, distributors and their respective representatives do not provide tax, accounting, investment or legal advice and make no guarantee as to the effectiveness or success of any investment or tax strategies discussed herein. Please consult your own independent adviser as to any questions you have or decision you are contemplating. ABOUT THIS MAGAZINE :: ThinkRealtyMagazine isapublication ofAffinityRealEstateMediaLLC.Reproductionoruseofanyeditorial orgraphic,withoutpermission, isprohibited.Wearenotresponsible for thecontentofanypaidadvertisements.Forreprintrights; toob- tainadetailedstatementofourprivacypolicy;and forallsingle-copy requests,addresschangesandothersubscription inquiries:

Are you following Think Realty on social media? Things move pretty fast in real estate. Don’t miss out on the latest trends, tips, insights and news from your trusted resource for all things real estate investing! Follow. Like. Love. Share. Comment. You can do it all with Think Realty’s social media channels. Join the conversations in Think Realty social communities and connect with like-minded members who range from first-time to seasoned investors. Check out all of our social media channels and connect with us - and other investors - today!

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Think Realty's Core Focus is to be the trusted source in the Real Estate Investment Industry by providing products and services focused on serving the Real Estate Investor.


At Think Realty's Atlanta Conference & Expo, Think Realty CEO Eddie Wilson congratulates Jon Lee, Think Realty Honors Award recipient for Commercial Investor of the Year. Jon Lee and Outback REIN partnered with Think Realty for the Capital Funding Summit in Las Vegas where he taught hundreds of attendees how to find funding for their next deal. Think Realty and Outback REIN's Capital Funding Summit EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FUNDING.

Think Realty Honor Award Winners celebrated in Atlanta with Think Realty’s CEO Eddie Wilson. Pictured winners in attendance were (from left to right): Stephanie and Bruce Petersen (Multifamily); Eddie Wilson; Glenn Stromberg and Melissa Hamaker (Single-Family); Jon Lee (Commercial); Kevin Kim (Investing Services); Douglas Skipworth (Master Investor); and Susan and Gary Harper (Education).

Think Realty and Outback REIN partnered to bring you the Capital Funding Summit, November 5-6, 2019, at the Westin Lake in Las Vegas. Attendees found answers to that all-important question: "Where can I find funding for my next deal?"

• Creative financing to enhance deals • And more!

Think Realty Honors Reception Congratulations to the 2019 Think Realty Honors Winners! Each year, Think Realty honors leaders in the industry who exemplify the best in real estate investing. Not only do these winners exemplify great success in their own right, but they also demonstrate Think Realty’s mission of being trusted resources within their real estate investing niche.

Those in attendance also rubbed shoulders with lenders, REI service providers and more than 200 attendees in a large exhibit hall with unlimited networking opportunities. Speakers included: Chris Naugle The Money Multiplier Keynote Speaker Jon Lee

This two-day event featured lessons on:

• The 5 funding needs of a real estate investor • Raising private money • Obtaining unsecured business lines of credit

Outback REIN Speaker

The Nation's Largest Private Lending Event

• Taking the fear out of hard money • Earnest money deposit funding • Understanding how to use bridge loans •  Understanding, fixing and optimizing your credit score

Coach Collard Outback REIN Speaker

Think Realty is honored to have been a part of AAPL’s 10th anniversary event in Las Vegas on Nov. 7-9, 2019. It’s an event packed with networking, continuing education, and the latest in business strategy.

This year’s featured keynote speaker was former Congressman Barney Frank, whose legislation — for better or worse — has arguably had one of the largest impacts on the real estate industry.

To learn more about what we have planned for 2020, visit

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Tom Olson and Good Success Mastermind members in front of a house Good Success flipped.


by Tom Olson


ears ago, I attended a mas- termind that changed my

as the national economy and eco- nomic policies have changed over the years, the city has floundered. I remember walking around the track at a high school in my neigh- borhood and realizing that I was seeing, in the faces around me, the true depth of despair and hopeless- ness that comes from living in a city where many people just want to “get out” and no one is focused on things getting better. I resolved that day to dedicate my own personal resources to the process of flipping Gary, but it was not until I attended that master- mind that I really took that big goal and made it part of my narrative. Telling everyone about this big goal compelled me to act. I initiated every step possible to bring real estate investors and community investors to Gary. Good Success now hosts events like the annual Com- munity Go-Giver Event, where we highlight the opportunities in Gary for investors all over the country.

Everywhere I speak, onstage or on a podcast or radio show, I talk about the incredible opportunities here for investors as well as the role of the investing community to have a positive effect on other communities in need. For example, Good Success flips around 100 houses a year in our area, and that makes a serious dent in low property values because our homes hit the market updated, modernized, and usually at the top of local comps. Telling people about my big goals has meant everything for my compa- ny and it turned a dream of making an impact into a lifetime of having an impact. I’m proud to be #flipping- gary and I will never, ever give up on making Gary great again! •

life. At that time, I would say I was living a “small” life. I was working hard, and I was relatively success- ful, but I was not feeling truly ful- filled because I had not, up to that point, been willing to do what it would take to do something great. What I learned at that mastermind significantly and positively changed my life and dramatically improved my real estate business as well. The other mastermind members told me, “Set big goals, and then tell everyone.” At first, I was reluctant. It sound- ed like bragging. I also knew that if I started putting my goals out there for others to hear, I would be compelled to make those big goals happen. I was nervous, but I went ahead and set a really big goal: I want to literally flip my home city of Gary, Indiana. Gary is perfectly positioned to be a thriving city, but

Tom Olson is the president of Good Success and the founder of the Good Success Mastermind. Learn more about Good Success, setting effective BIG goals,

and #flippinggary at

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Beth O’Brien and her unconventional path surges growth at CoreVest.




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C oreVest CEO Beth O’Brien maintains a belief that like- ly isn’t popular among other chief executives. “You actually want to encourage dissent,” she said. “You don't want to encourage people to not do some- thing if they're supposed to do it. But you certainly want to empower people to challenge you.” Such conviction is part of O’Brien’s broader philosophy to elevate each team member of CoreVest, a rapidly growing finance company for resi- dential real estate investors based in Irvine, Calif. From stimulating productive defiance and embracing failures to emboldening employees to find and use their voice, O’Brien’s approach may be unconventional, but the results speak for themselves. Founded in 2014 by O’Brien, CoreVest is a leading private lender for residential real estate investors throughout the U.S., offering portfolio and single-property loans for rent- al properties as well as short-term credit lines and bridge financing. Re- cently, the company of 100 employees surpassed a significant milestone in closing over $6 billion in loans and fi- nancing over 40,000 investment units. What’s helped CoreVest hit such meaningful achievements is its breadth of experience, O’Brien said.

Beth O’Brien’s Favorite Tech Tools

With clients and offices around the United States, CoreVest CEO Beth O’Brien’s work and communication is often executed amid travel. That’s why the executive relies on powerful yet flexible technology to help her perform at her best. Here are a few of O’Brien’s favorite tools.

The iPad As the leader of a 100-person team, O’Brien recognized that her role has evolved from that of a producer of data to one that is consuming it when meeting with clients and making decisions. That’s why she opts for a portable tech tool for her travel-laden schedule: the tablet. “I'm so attached to my iPad that when I once locked it in a car, the CFO said, ‘Did you leave your arm, too? Because I thought it was surgically embedded,’” O’Brien laughed. “Everything we do is cloud-based

and mobile, so I can access everything I do for work on my iPad, which is really nice. … The tablet is not great for creation, but it's awesome for consumption. You can read on it better than a phone, and you can manipulate it. It's all the things I need, which is really consumption of data.”

Social media To stay abreast on real estate market news, O’Brien finds that social media platforms are quite useful. In addition to LinkedIn and Twitter, O’Brien particularly likes Instagram to stay informed. “I'm going to go to the airport soon and I'm going to be in the back of a car, on the phone, checking Instagram and sending emails,” she said. “It helps me feel attached to what else is happening in the market. I get a lot of information from it.”

For example, among CoreVest’s three C-suite executives, there’s more than a collective 80 years of industry experience in real estate and finance. “One of the things that sets CoreVest apart from some of its competitors is our deep understanding of the market,” O’Brien said. “Because we understand the market so well and have so many people who work in our company who were equity investors and have been in this particular market for many years, our ability to customize what the investor needs, our ability to close in a reasonable period of time, and our customer service sets us apart from others. We understand their business well enough to work with them on the busi- ness pieces alone.” O’Brien herself has 30 years of experience in nearly every aspect of the mortgage industry, as both a principal and an

Web-based platform CoreVest’s responsive, web-based platform has been invaluable for O’Brien. It enables her to not only use the same data the company uses but allows her to access it however she needs amid her busy travel schedule. “The way we set up our company data and tools —

cisions all day long that aren’t always that sophisticated. Sometimes it's the heavy strategic stuff, but sometimes, it's working with other departments.” CoreVest has also grown thanks in part to its sig- nificant expansion of loan offerings over the last year, helping to serve a diverse and growing client base that employs varied real estate strategies. In spring 2019, CoreVest introduced its Build-to-Rent Complete, which provides a comprehensive financing solution for inves- tors that build and hold portfolios of new rental prop- erties. The company also rolled out additional bridge loan products for multifamily properties and a new 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage loan to provide alterna- tives to finance individual rental properties.

advisor and has managed more than $15 billion in trans- actions. O’Brien previously was executive vice president at, where she ran residential capital markets, and previously was the president of, where she ran the financing strategy for the platform. Such a diverse background provided O’Brien not only a well-rounded perspective on the finance and real estate industry but also cultivated compassion and under- standing for a business’s needs. “Having a really diverse background and a non-linear career has been super helpful in having the empathy necessary for all the different departments but also an acumen and ability to multitask on a lot of different top- ics,” she said. “Being CEO is actually making a lot of de-

even the way we fund loans — it's all web and cloud-based,” she said. “Being able to use even highly controlled applications in a mobile way has really enabled us and me to travel the way that we like to, to see

the assets we need to see and never feel like we’re not using the actual company systems.”

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THREE LEADERSHIP LESSONS from CoreVest CEO Beth O’Brien: Through her decades of executive experience, CoreVest CEO Beth O’Brien has cultivated a deep understanding of what’s important in leadership. Now as the honcho of more than 100 employees, O’Brien has been intentional in stepping back to evaluate what aspects of her own leadership should remain consistent and what should evolve. Here are a few of her insights over the years. 1. Find Your Voice O’Brien believes that we’re all more effective if we’re true to who we are. The same piece of advice that she issues to new leaders is the same she gives to her children and employees: Find your own voice. “It’s great to be exposed to all different types of people, to learn from them and take from them the things you feel you can incorporate,” O’Brien said. “But at the end of the day, you're never going to be as effective unless you find your own voice. You need to be the leader that you are — not the one that you know you thought was great when you were two jobs in. And that means finding a voice and a style that’s really you.” When you harness your voice, O’Brien said that employees will naturally gravitate toward your message. Authenticity is contagious and will empower those around you, she added. “If you’re true to your own voice, the people will really follow you because it’s genuine,” O’Brien said. “Think about what your friends like about you. What your family likes about you? Those are your key attributes that are going to work in your voice. If your friends find you hilariously funny, it may not be the easiest thing to translate to a work

environment. But that means that you probably should be a little bit more lighthearted than the average leader because that is part of your persona.”

and behavior carry more weight. How you conduct yourself or even consider ideas can shape how people execute their work. “Once you actually have that title you've been trying to get to, all of a sudden you have to be careful what you say or how you say it because people are going to do it,” she said. “If you say something in a meeting, they're going to start working on it — even if you are brainstorming. … There's that evolution piece that you have to be mindful of.” 3. Walk the Walk What you accomplish and how you spend your time will always be a stronger testament of your character than what you say. O’Brien encourages all leaders to be mindful of the precedents they set, and to follow through on what they say. “It sounds trite, but I really believe in leading by example,” she said. “If you're going to expect people to do things, you better also be doing the same thing. Do what you expect people to do and that's going to resonate more than anything you say.”

2. Your Approach Should Evolve As with many things in life, O’Brien encourages people to reflect on how far they’ve come and what should change as a result. One thing to consider for new leaders is whether their approach has become inflexible or stuck in time. Often, new leaders are exclusively tapping into the approach that led them to the corner office, rather than adapting their tack to their new role. “One of the early mistakes people make when they're new to being leaders is that they're so used to being an emerging leader. It's important as an emerging leader to show strength and to be forceful. Sometimes, when you actually get to that leadership position, one of the mistakes people make is that they're a little too forceful, a little too direct because it's how they got there. It's a very normal problem.” O’Brien said that tweaking your

approach is necessary to be a more effective leader because your words

CoreVest also worked dili- gently to simplify the loan process via the internet or over the phone. After

According to O’Brien, CoreVest also incorporates a mentality of growth into its company culture, which means that it’s OK to make mistakes along the way. “I don’t want anyone to ever be afraid of a negative outcome,” she said. “You're allowed to challenge, and you're allowed to make mistakes. And that's what I think you need to do if you're trying to build a culture of constant improvement.” At times, O’Brien is still shocked that the company has largely emerged from its startup roots. While it’s exciting and gratifying to drive such growth, O’Brien said that she hopes CoreVest never loses its scrappy, startup attitude. “I think it’s part of what makes us successful,” O’Brien said. “I hope to never fully shed that startup skin, but I recognize that scalability is the quintessential goal of every startup. … I have teenagers, so it's not lost on me that getting teenagers to adulthood is pretty similar to what's going on here. Your basic teenager or 20-some- thing is incredibly capable, incredibly smart, and really not 100 percent ready yet.” As CoreVest has expanded over the last five years, O’Brien said adapting to that growth has been among its biggest challenges. After reading Blitzscaling by entre- preneurs Chris Yeh and Reid Hoffman, O’Brien realized

that her company’s challenges were normal. It started out like a small family and grew to become a village, then a town, and then a city. “It made me feel better — that you're supposed to break a little at each step,” she said. “You're supposed to be going along believing tribal knowledge is fine until all of a sudden you need village rules. It was really helpful to think about it that way — that you're supposed to have challenges each step of the way because you’re a different company at 25 people than you are at 50 and 75 and 100 people.” Looking back at the growth over the last five years, O’Brien said she’s thrilled by for Cor- eVest’s growth and is thank- ful for its hand in enhancing customers’ lives.

submitting an application, the CoreVest team works with customers to determine the size and prices of a loan, guiding them through each step. Once approved, a loan can close as fast as a few days, helping customers accelerate plans based on their specific timelines. Such offerings are examples of how CoreVest en- thusiastically tries new things to serve the market and grow its customer base. O’Brien and her team have prioritized an adaptable approach that listens and responds to customers. Iterative design has allowed the company to evolve with the market and continue to address fluctuations as they come. “One of the things that’s really been key to our success is our ability to make decisions, be willing to try new things, and then adjust the decision if it doesn’t work out,” O’Brien said. “We have a culture of constant im- provement. Sometimes it’s just small improvements, like a process or small change. Anything that continues to reduce the friction to the client or increase our efficiency or work in a way that’s a little bit smarter. Sometimes it means evolving the product to fit the client a little bit better. … You can't just build it and they will come.”

Joke breaks are part of the job at CoreVest.

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MEMBERSHIP MEANS SOMETHING. Join the oldest national association representing the private lending industry as a viable alternative for borrowing and investing. As a member, you’ll gain prestige through our:

Three Pieces of Finance Advice fromBeth O’Brien

As the leader of a firm that’s closed over $6 billion in loans for more than 40,000 properties, CoreVest CEO Beth O’Brien has plenty of financing advice for real estate investors. An advocate of embracing and learning from mistakes, O’Brien insists that newbies roll up their sleeves for the dirty, hard work of becoming a shrewdly educated real estate investor. Here are a few morsels of financing advice that O’Brien has accumulated through the years. Give Yourself a Cushion Without hesitation, O’Brien’s first piece of advice to investors is a basic but crucial rule to follow. While figures such as home price appreciation are also important factors, O’Brien said it’s imperative that investors have an adequate buffer on their investment’s debt cost. “The most important piece if you’re taking any debt as a new investor is, does the project cover the debt cost,” she said. “That way, if you’re in it longer, you’re still going to be fine. Give yourself enough of a cushion. Coverage is your friend.” Do Your Homework O’Brien encourages investors to carefully research a prospective investment’s area and its comps, which in real estate refers to comparable sales — location, size, condition and features — of recently sold nearby homes. “Do as much homework as you can on the area and on the comparables in the area so that you really know you're getting your valuation right,” she said. “Because it’s very hard to fix a bad value.” Investors can use an agent or research public property records themselves to find a home’s comparables. But regardless of how you find such information, make sure it’s accurate and serves as a guide for your offer. If your analysis is off, O’Brien said it can be really hurt your returns. “You're going to make some mistakes along the way — and mistakes are fine, you will learn from them and you'll probably still do fine on the investment. But if you get the value way off, it's very hard to come back from,” O’Brien said. Treat Investing as a Business Make sure to treat your investing like a business and ensure your actions are in line with your goals. Ultimately, a few extra dollars on a deal might not be worth the extra few months of waiting. “Don't hold out for the last penny,” O’Brien said. “Don't worry if two months later the market's a little bit stronger — you still won and you're using that capital again on something else that you're going to be winning with. Holding out for the last penny is not going to help you either. Just run it like a business, be rational about it, and take your wins when you have a win.”





You certainly want to empower people to challenge you.




“It’s gone by in a flash,” she said. “It feels great and sometimes it’s really humbling. ... I've been able to watch some of our clients grow from pretty small inves- tors to pretty legit large players in the market. It's been incredibly satisfying to be part of those stories. It’s really meaningful to me that we’ve been able to grow and at the same time our clients have been able to grow.” •

Bobby Burch is the Founder of Bobby Burch Creative, a small business storytelling studio. Learn more at and contact him at

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deal that he knew real estate in- vesting would take over his teach- ing career. Keller began his real estate career with single-family resi- dential properties, wholesaling, completing fix and flip rehabs, and acquiring rentals. After completing over 100 deals in multiple states, he looked for a way to more easily scale his real estate business and found mobile homes. When Keller met Stromberg at a mastermind, Stromberg told Keller to send him his throw-away leads, which caused Keller to research Stromberg’s strategy and learn more about mobile homes. Eventually, the two joined forces. And, just like their preferred niche of REI, their part- nership is working. “Glenn is an incredibly gifted own- er and operator, but I’ve spent half my career in education and half in real estate with the perspective of a single-family investor, so I am more apt to teach. Most education-


More about Max

Keller earned his BBA in finance from the University of Texas in Austin and his MA in teaching from Louisiana College. When he

The #1 thing that changed

your life? Reading — Deep Work by Cal Newport and Essentialism by Greg McKeown are two faves. Howmany kids do you have? 6, Yes I have a TV, Yes they are all mine...I know I look too young...thank you. Favorite vacation spot? Disney World What do you do to ease a bad day? Sit in the Hyperbaric Chamber What do you do to celebrate a good day? Talking... that one is my favorite. Want to listen? I am accepting volunteers.

was teaching in inner city schools, he had a friend who entered the rental business. Naturally,

the teacher in him was curious to learn more about real estate, first through his friend’s experiences, and then from other mentors. It wasn’t long after he closed his first

Glenn Stromberg (left) and Max Keller (right)

Get to know Glenn


Do you have a guilty pleasure? Pizza! I have a pizza addiction. Favorite movie? It’s a Wonderful Life

al platforms don’t have an investing company that runs alongside it. We’re doing it every day; we’re not just teaching theory,” Keller said. Keller said mo- bile home investing is great for those wanting to transition from another area of real estate, but it’s also a great

by Kelli White


BORN FOR BUSINESS At his first job out of college

hink Realty Resident Experts and Presidents’ Circle mem-

“I always say my claim to fame is that I was a partner with Warren Buffett. Even though I’ve never met him!” Stromberg joked. Over his nearly four decades in the mobile home industry, Stromberg has developed mobile home subdi- visions, owned a mobile home park, owned and operated mobile home sales centers, and bought, sold, and market was shifting, so he shifted as well. He began rehabbing and selling mobile homes on half-acre to two-acre tracts, so the properties became not personal property but leased single-family homes. In 2006, Stromberg saw the

real property. He was flipping three per month at $30,000 each when the market crashed in 2008. “By necessity, I had to learn prop- erty management and how to lease a property. But the crash ended up being the greatest thing that ever happened for my business,” Stromberg said. He went from doing three deals a month to upwards of 15 per month. “I never thought I’d have anoth- er partner, but when I got to know Max, I found that our core values aligned. Max is an unbelievably gift- ed guy and a natural-born teacher. This coaching program is my chance to give back,” Stromberg said.

Best books? E Myth changed my business life and

(he earned a bachelor’s degree in business from Western Illinois University), Stromberg said he had been promoted three times but still wasn’t making any money. He saw an ad in a newspaper that claimed one could make six figures selling mobile homes, so, he answered the ad. That was 1982. Soon after Stromberg started his real estate career, he quickly became a top sales manager for a mobile home dealership. Then, he started a Clayton Homes fran- chise, which he eventually sold to Berkshire Hathaway.

bers Max Keller and Glenn Strom- berg haven’t always been a team. But while former teacher (Keller) and former business employee (Stromberg) each discovered real estate investing at different times in their lives, they both saw an op- portunity and took a chance. Years later, their paths crossed and again opportunity presented itself. Now, partners with MobileVestEd, Texas residents Keller and Stromberg are excited to educate and coach over 10,000 new and existing mobile home investors.

way for beginners to get started. “Mobile homes are simple. I was beyond frustrated as a single-fam- ily investor, and had I started in mobile homes, I’d be way ahead of where I am. Regardless of market cycles, what will never change is the demand for affordable housing,” Keller said. In five states and growing, Keller and Stromberg enjoy the faster results and effort-to-return ratio of this niche of REI. And they plan to keep on moving. •

The Purpose Driven Life changed my personal life. If you have a free day, with zero obligations, what would you do? Something with my grandkids! What do you do to celebrate a good day? Thank God

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Andy Williams, Recon Realty


Jacob and Cassie Warren

Benaisha Poole-Watson

Juan Cristales

home to buy a piece of the land they fought to defend” if for no other reason than the fact that I am the writer who crafted the phrase. However, another consistent theme that I have noticed when veterans buy the land they fought to defend is that they seem to care for it with a certain patriotic zeal. There are indeed veterans out there involved in multi-million-dollar luxury deals, but the majority of veterans I’ve seen in real estate are investing and revitalizing communities that need it most. It is as if they genuinely love America and they are putting their money where their hearts are. Veterans Buy America was found- ed by Marine veteran and real estate thought leader Andy Williams. Andy hired me as a writer to spread the word about Veterans Buy America without expecting any monetary return. I have not seen him try to monetize the initiative nor cash in on his fellow veteran in any way. Being truly invested in veterans and their individual journeys as real VETERANS LEADING BY EXAMPLE

estate entrepreneurs, Andy built a community to address the afford- able housing crisis through com- munity revitalization. I have seen him introduce his fellow veterans to unprecedented capital they would not have otherwise had, and he has done all he can to spotlight their work to serve as a beacon to other veterans. The simple fact is that Andy has made his wealth in real estate and he is simply trying to show other veterans the way. I recently asked him specifically about his end game. He stated, “I’m investing in the veteran. The commu- nity is the collateral.” Having seen this initiative in action, I’m convinced that building a community of like-minded veterans to grow viable businesses and enter the real estate space is good for the country, individual communi- ties, and most importantly, the veter- ans and their families. As Veterans Buy America nears the end of its research stage and prepares for nationwide launch, the opportunities for veterans are unlimited. If there was any time to get involved in real estate, it is now. Per- sonally, I’ve spent 2019 writing about

This content is brought to you by Recon Realty and AndyWilliams


Sergio Bazan

by Jeff Edwards

veterans who are making a killing in real estate with a touch of regret because I was not doing the same. I have no plans of spending 2020 with the same regret. The time is now to build transformational wealth and it is beyond poetic to say that those who fought for America deserve to own a piece of it. I encourage all veterans with an interest in real estate to visit and join the initiative. Andy is ready to lead the way; he’s just looking for a fellow veteran ready to make the breach. •


or Air Force veterans Jacob and Cassie Warren, it all start-

Veterans Buy America initiative. As a Marine veteran of Iraq myself, I’ve been fascinated by just how many veterans are coming back home from war and building transformational wealth through the power of real estate. More than fascinated, I have to admit that I write with a touch of re- gret because I didn’t follow a similar path when I returned home. Thanks to Andy Williams and Veterans Buy America, veterans like myself still have time to get in on the action.

lionaire John Paulson once famously said, “If you don’t own a home, buy one. If you own a home, buy another one. If you own two homes, buy a third. And, lend your relatives the money to buy a home.” What I learned by writing about veterans who thrive in the real estate space is that it truly is the key to transformational wealth. Nearly every veteran I interviewed left for boot camp with little more than the change in their pocket. All of them served honorably while some deployed and others did not. Yet, once they got involved in real estate, the result was always the same — prosperity. I find something beautifully poetic about the phrase, “veterans returning

ed with paying off their first house. Now, the young couple holds a real estate portfolio worth over $650,000. Navy veteran Sergio Bazan started his foray into real estate by becom- ing a loan officer. He now sits atop of his own $2 million real estate em- pire. Marine Captain Juan Cristales took a risk on a $400 investment in a real estate class. After a decade of deployments, Cristales created his own military transition plan by acquiring a multi-million- dollar real estate portfolio. For nearly a year, I’ve had the privilege of serving as a writer for the

Jeff Edwards is a Marine veteran and contributing writer for Veterans Buy America. Find out more about the initiative and stories of transition at

VETERANS REBUILDING THE HOMEFRONT Real estate investor and multi-bil-

22 | think realty magazine :: november / december 2019

thinkrealty . com | 23



Your business doesn’t fit in a lending box.

4 Things to Consider When Investing in Single-Family Homes

So we got rid of it. Customized funding solutions designed to scale with you.

by Kendall Krawchuk, Fund That Flip


NO. 2 There's a growing demand for single-family rentals. With affordability still a concern, more and more consumers are de- ciding to rent. This is particularly true among Millennials, whose confidence in being able to save for a down pay- ment is at its lowest level since 2011. Yet as Millennials start to have fami- lies of their own, we are noticing their needs outgrowing traditional apart- ments or even 1-2 bedroom rentals. We are seeing a growing demand for our single-family rental loan product. This demographic shift may be one factor driving the increased demand for single-family rentals and subse- quent spike in rent prices in 2019. We anticipate that the remainder of 2019 will offer even more single family investor opportunities to buy, rent, refinance, or sell to turnkey owners seeking these single-family rental properties. NO. 3 Overlooked markets could yield opportunities for investors. Competition is growing on the buy side of single-family home real estate investing, with institutional investors selling off considerable portions of their portfolios, and

any real estate investors swear by multi-family invest-

platforms like Opendoor, Knock and Offerpad attracting busy homeown- ers looking to sell quickly. Investors should seek creative solutions in a crowded buying landscape. Sin- gle-family home investors should also consider overlooked markets; the largest and most overcrowded, San Jose, San Francisco and Seattle, saw the greatest decline in prices at 2018 year-end, and many experts still consider them overpriced. NO. 4 Strategic financing can help mitigate the risk of changing markets. Through the remainder of 2019, investors should prepare for longer timelines to sell and budget for either holding the property longer, or antic- ipate selling at lower prices. Finding the right balance between the two will best prepare them for movements in the market. Similarly, single-family home investors should also consider financing partners who are set up to close on properties quickly and to deftly respond to changes in the indus- try. The success of many investors will largely depend on their ability to move quickly and find creative solutions to market shifts in 2019 and beyond. •

ments, but investing in single-fami- ly homes can also be a great way to increase cash flow and your bottom line. For many, the single-family home is also a way to diversify their real estate portfolios. If you're thinking about investing in this as- set class, here are trends, opportu- nities and strategies to consider. NO. 1 Demand remains strong, but affordability is still a concern. A recent survey by Trulia re- veals an increase in the number of Americans planning to buy a home, with 40% intending to buy in the next two years. However, the issue of affordability continues to trouble potential homebuyers. More than half of homebuyers are concerned about saving enough for a down payment, a rate which is even higher among Millennials, now the largest demographic cohort of homebuyers. Investors will also need to navigate rising median and mean prices, despite the slight uptick in inventory. Because of this, we expect increased activity in more affordable markets.

Single Family + Multi-Family | New Construction | Fix-and-Rent | Fix-and-Flip | Cash-out Refinance

For experienced developers, Fund That Flip offers: 646-895-8060

• Underwriting customized to your business • No pre-established lending limits

• Maximum LTV and LTV ratios • Rates starting at 7.99%

24 | think realty magazine :: november / december 2019

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by Abhi Golhar


current value of the home to be, you want to buy it at a lower price. That locks in a profit at the closing table and provides a higher ROI when you sell. CREATE A POSITIVE CASHFLOW You must do a thorough analysis of the costs of ownership and the expected rent you can charge. That allows you to determine if you can structure your investment to pro- vide your desired monthly cashflow. You want a positive flow of monthly cash over and above your actual cash outlays. You also get some great tax breaks from owning rent- al property, one of the best being the depreciation deduction. If you can construct a rental prop- erty investment that meets these criteria, your success is almost as- sured. You will see your investment grow in value over time while you're banking cash every month. •

Find the areas where people want to buy homes, and you'll probably find them popular with renters as well.

eal estate investing has become a hot topic, and there

are countless books, courses, and television shows about different real estate investment strategies. Owning rental properties is the foundation of several approaches. For long-term wealth and a lavish retirement lifestyle, a portfolio of rental properties is the key. What makes a great rental property investment? Here are the most critical considerations for selection and acqui- sition of the best single-family rentals for a long-term wealth portfolio. LOCATION The old real estate saying about location, location, location rings true for rental properties as well. You want to find homes in popular residential areas; sometimes they're related to a nearby major employer. At other times, it's about the age of the neighborhood and the style of homes, or the proximity of the area to a major city or green belts. The location saying began as a description of the most important aspect of buying and selling prop- erties. Renters want to live where buyers live. They have most of the same selection criteria, except they want or need to rent instead of buy.

READY TO RENT This discussion isn't of fix-and-flip or rehabbing homes for rental but is instead for the average investor who wants to buy a ready-to-rent house. Shop the market of homes listed with real estate agents, but often they're priced at the top of the market. If you can wait out one that isn't selling, you usually can get a better price that might meet your cashflow needs. Otherwise, you can watch online sites like and others to find FSBO (for sale by owner) homes. Your ability to locate distressed owners can produce a viable investment. APPRECIATION IN VALUE OVER TIME You want to purchase a home in an area that has historically shown appreciation in value equal to or greater than other areas. Your ultimate disposition of the house will produce a higher ROI (return on investment) if you can buy in an area with substantial appreciation.

Content provided by Chimene Van Gundy, Mobile Home Millions


ou know by now that you can stand to make a sizable fortune

• Plumbing and electrical • Fire safety • Energy efficiency

When you take the 3 M’s and you compare them to site-built homes, you may be hard-pressed to distin- guish any telltale differences. But when you are in the process and walk beside a homebuyer building a site-built home, you will then see the major differences along the way: time, cost, and options. The truth is, many more upgrades are available for the budget-friendly and highly economical mobile, manufactured, and modular options. •

from mobile home investing, but do you understand the difference in the “M’s” behind the millions? Often- times, what is typically referred to as a mobile home, is likely to be either a manufactured or a modular home. While mobile homes and man- ufactured homes may be inter- changeable to much of the general public, and often used to describe the same sort of housing, the Na- tional Mobile Home Construction and Safety Act of 1974 distinguished the difference between the two. The primary differences were later further deliberated and dif- ferentiated within the only national building code to be federally regu- lated. The HUD Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards lists these differences as: • Design and construction • Body and frame requirements • Thermal protection

In the same manner in which both mobile homes and modular homes are built, sections of the modular homes are built in a facility that is climate controlled and designed for the specific use of home building. Modular homes are built to comply to the local, regional and state codes of the home’s intended final destina- tion. This is, of course, the same as site-built homes. Homes can be built with as many as five sections that are transportable and are joined to one another upon reaching the end location. Local contractors special- izing in the joining of the parts are brought in at this point. Typically, any required inspections are done once the home’s setup has been finalized at its final location. Modular homes can vary from two to five sections based upon the size. They can even have multiple stories.

Chimene Van Gundy is the mother of five children, and she runs and manages five different companies. She is known as the "The Mobile Home Millionaire" and “Queen of Mobile Homes” because she has fixed,

flipped, and wholesaled more than 400 units to date in four years and in 11 states. She currently owns 20 mobile home parks and has taken her business international by rehabbing mobile homes in Ireland, where they are called “Holiday homes.” Chimene is on a mission to preserve the “last frontier of affordable housing for the U.S.” and is currently teaching others how to use these “little boxes that spit out cash” to change their lives and live the life of their dreams through her mobile home millions platform.

Abhi Golhar is a full-time real estate investor, Think Realty Resident Expert and host of Think Realty Podcast. Connect with Abhi at

BUY BELOW CURRENT MARKET VALUE Whatever you determine the

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